The clever Yotaphone has a pair of screens: A regular touchscreen on the front, and an E-Ink screen on the back, which is used for displaying static images like maps, tickets or notes. But what if you don’t want to give up the phone you have? Wandering the show floor at Mobile World Congress 2014, we stumbled across the InkCase from Oaxis, which coverts your phone into a Yotaphone-like device.
The case connects using Bluetooth Low Energy to your phone. It interacts with special, proprietary apps installed from the respective app store. These include an e-reader app, an image gallery, and a sports app, all of which were demoed at the show. The sports app showed a RunKeeper-style page, which could be refreshed every five to sixty seconds. Additionally, apps for notifications, the weather, and financial charts are also available. A button below the screen turns the page of an e-book, or cycles through your open apps.
It adds around 50 grams in weight to your device, and on the iPhone, effectively doubles its thickness. In terms of size and bulk, think of it like an external battery pack case. It has its own power, but the standby time quoted was a disappointing four days. Oaxis will produce InkCase cases for the iPhone 5 and 5S, the Galaxy S4, Note 2 and Note 3, plus the Nexus 5.
Both the iPhone and the Note 2’s InkCases clip on to the phone, but the Galaxy S4 version mounted the E-Ink screen on a cover, in a similar style to Samsung’s own Flip Cases. Screen sizes vary too, with the Note 2’s display measuring 4.3 inches, and 3.5 inches on the iPhone.
Oaxis has the InkCase i5 for the iPhone and the InkCase N2 for the Note 2 on sale through its own website now. The other versions will follow in the future, and the intention is to offer them in both the U.S. and the UK. The price has been set at $130, which is quite expensive, given you can buy a Kindle for less than half that figure.